Emoji: Proud of Humility by John Burke

At Gateway Church in Austin, we are going through a series called Emoji: ManageYour Moods.

Here is an overview of the series:

The life of the Apostle Paul is one of hardship, pain and uncertainty, and yet his letters to the early churches are filled with expressions of peace and joy! How did this man, who endured so much, encourage so many to have joy in all circumstances?

This week John Burke spoke on “Proud of Humility.”

Click for the Next Steps for this message.

Here is the audio of the message by Robb Overholt:

Here is the video of the message by John Burke:

Here are notes from the message:

The world tells us if our kids are going to be proud of us, we have to be strong, rich, powerful, fearless, and successful. The irony is that for many of us dads seeking to prove ourselves often destroys our children, and it’s often the fuel that drove our fathers to wound us.

So what should we feel proud about?

I find dads often feel proud about the wrong things and ashamed of the right things. Our feelings about ourselves actually undermine being the dads we want to be.

So today, I want to look at Philippians 2, where we get a look at the richest, strongest, most powerful, prestigious person who has ever existed—to see what he was proud of. He was a man who changed the course of history—whether you call him God and Lord or not, Jesus changed history and left a legacy of billions of people wanting to follow him.

Paul, who wrote this letter to the Philippian church reflects on Jesus and what we should be proud of:

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
– Philippians 2:3-6

Philippians 2 is about Jesus’ greatness demonstrated in humility.  Strength in humility is truly the greatest legacy we can leave as fathers and as people.  Jesus was/is the strongest, greatest, most powerful Being imaginable, yet he used that strength on serving others.

As we fathers and the rest of us, follow Jesus to serve our kids or to serve others, the result is a love and joy that gives us something we can’t get any other way and leaves a legacy your kids will be proud of.

We live in a world where it’s pretty hard to get your focus off of self.  Many of us grew up under the influence of the ME Generation. The 80’s were considered the decade of Self. Self-awareness, self-indulgence, self-gratification, self actualization, the decade even produced a magazine called SELF. The heroes were the ruthless, self-aggrandizing business tycoons who amassed fame and fortune as they ran over people, broke laws, and destroyed marriages in the pursuit of Self Desire. This blatant self-centeredness that ruled produced a record number of broken homes, unwanted kids, fatherless kids, and impoverished ghettos. Many of us grew up breathing that air. The term “latch-key kid” was invented because parents ranked “new cars” as more important than “kids” for satisfaction in life. Children became seen as an obstacle in the way of success and the “good life.” During the 80’s a rash of evil child movies got made, every year a new one  The Exorcist, Children of the Corn, The Omen, Rosemary’s Baby, and so on. Our society became so self-obsessed we demonized children to rationalize it.

Here’s why it’s important to understand this—that’s not normal or good—but it was normal for many of us growing up. As a result, it’s normal for us now.

Our internal default is set to SELF.

Without trying, SELF is in control, choosing to make up a lame excuse to get out of helping a friend move, silencing your conscience when it suggests you sacrifice your agenda to serve your family.

Why do we do these things? Often because we are so busy trying to prove something to someone, we get self-obsessed. Which is why Paul says: “Don’t be selfish, and then, don’t try to impress others.”

When we’re living to prove something to others—prove that we’re real men, prove that we’re rich enough, strong enough, street-smart enough, noticed enough, whatever—when we’re trying to prove something to others, we’ll hurt our kids.

So many men who have been hurt by their dads get driven by bad fuel that ends up burning their kids.

When we try to prove to the world we’re worth being proud of,
we end up hurting those we love most.

To that end, Paul says:

“Don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

Jesus’ Attitude

Jesus humbled Himself and served us all.

Jesus knew who he was—the son of God. He didn’t need to prove anything to anyone because it would one day be clear for all to see. But you know what? That’s true of you too! If you’ve given your life back to God accepting His forgiveness and love offered through Jesus then you are his adopted kid. You’re a child of the King of the universe. You’re of so much value, God entered our world and gave all a man can give for you! You don’t need to prove anything. What you need is to root your sense of worth and value in God and what He says is true about you, and stop trying to prove yourself.

When we do this, we will be free to take interest in others to leave a legacy of investing in our kids or in other people. We’ll be known as a humble man or woman who took interest in others, not just himself or herself.

Dads—there’s nothing stronger that you can pass on to your kids than a spiritual strength of knowing who you are, rooted in your identity in Christ. That’s an internal strength your kids will be proud of. If you don’t have that—get in a men’s Life Group, find men as Spiritual Running Partners—ween yourself off the crack of trying to prove yourself to those voices in your head, so you have a confident, settled, identity that has nothing to prove.

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. – Phil 2:6-7

This passage is one of the most interesting theologically—it’s called the Kenosis passage. Kenosis is the greek word, “to empty.” The scriptures teach that Jesus was fully God. Paul declares in another letter:

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form…. – Colossians 2:9

John, who followed Jesus and saw his miracles and resurrection declared:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. – John 1:1-3, 14

So clearly, those who lived with Jesus realized he was the long foretold Messiah: God’s self-revelation in the form of man.

100% God and 100% Man

And we see this mystery of God’s self-revelation that has tripped up many people. I want to do a short theological detour because it’s very important—it has to do with where we get proud of the wrong things and our pride trips us up. Christians don’t believe there are 3 gods—Father, Son, and Spirit. The Old Testament Jewish prophets, whom we believe because they accurately foretold so much history as proof they were from God, declared “There’s only 1 God.” Yet they also foretold a day, place, time when this One God would fuse Divine Nature with Human Nature. Isaiah told us that Almighty God will be born as a son, come from Galilee. Malachi told us the God you’re seeking will come to his Temple in Jerusalem. Daniel told us this Messiah will be killed, then the temple in Jerusalem destroyed. All of these prophecies happened.

So Jesus was 100% God in bodily form. But how could that be? Some people proud of their intellect reason “Who was ruling the universe if God couldn’t even change his own diapers?” We think we’re so smart that if we can’t understand, it’s false. But our problem comes from not recognizing our own limitations. We are finite creatures, bound by time and 3 dimensions of space. God is not limited by our 4 dimensions so when God explains truths to us that make sense in higher dimensions, it will sound paradoxical to us.

Jesus was 100% God, yet “emptied himself” to become 100% human. He never becomes less than 100% God, yet he was also 100% human in every way. It’s paradoxical to us, but resolves in higher dimensions.

But what’s important for us today is to see true Greatness, true Power, true Glory and what that does.

The creator of all the beauty and wonders of earth, the power that flung billions and billions of stars into existence, humbled himself to become a servant of those he loved.

That’s what true Strength, true Power, true Greatness does—He has so much confident assurance, he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone, but instead can humbly serve others. He can take the time to enter into our world—to be with us!

Fathers—you want to be Great, Powerful, Confident, someone your kids will be proud of?

  • Be Proud of humility—to humble yourself, enter into their world, take interest in what matters to them, to serve them, to lift them up, to build them up.
  • Empty yourself of your need to have them make you look good—we don’t make God look good, yet he loved us enough to enter our world and serve us.
  • Empty yourself of the need to hide or pretend your something you’re not.
  • Empty yourself of your agenda to become great and help them become great while you can—you only get about 10 years, then they’re not chasing you, you’re chasing them.
  • Follow Jesus—be proud to humbly serve.

Paul continues:

When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. – Philippians 2:7-8

What made Jesus the greatest human ever to live, is he was far more courageous than a brazened fighter, far braver than William Wallace in Braveheart, he was not afraid of anything or anyone—and so he was able to fully obey God as the model human. The consequences of fully obeying God—an evil, hurt, hate-filled world nailed him to a cross. Yet that’s what God used to change the world.

Fathers, you want your kids to think of you as courageous, strong, brave? It will never come from machismo, power-lifting, brawling, or never backing down in an argument, never letting them see your weaknesses or fears. We all know that’s weakness trying to wrap itself in a brown paper bag labeled strength.

True strength is strength of character.

A character strong enough to admit mistakes, say I’m sorry, and as your kids grow up to let them know—real men do get hurt, angry, even have fears—but there’s a healthy way to deal with them.

True courage is the courage to do what’s right, just, loving even if it’s going to hurt you. It’s the legacy that lasts:

  • A person who is so brave and courageous, he/she won’t compromise integrity or your word even if it loses you money.
  • A person so strong and courageous he/she isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right, even if you get fired.
  • A person so brave and loving, he/she will not be ashamed of their relationship with God, even if they get mocked or persecuted for it.
  • A person with humble obedience to God, whatever the cost.

Is that the kind of person you want to be? God, I want to courageously obey you, no matter the cost? That’s a person others will be proud to have known. That’s a person God will be proud of.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11

The name above every name—the honor above every honor—that’s what Jesus received. We don’t fully realize it yet, but we will. Just as you don’t fully realize the name, honor, and reward God wants to give to those who follow Jesus in humility.

God will raise you up and honor you as you humbly serve, and courageously obey, and follow Jesus no matter what the cost. Your kids and others will be proud of your name as well.

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